West Union Mennonite Church, Parnell, Iowa
A glorious array of music and movement characterized a worship service at the Camino de Salvación (Way of Salvation) church in southern Quito November 18 as a network of 9 mostly indigenous Ecuadorian Mennonite churches hosted representatives of the Ecuador Partnership. As a new conference, the multicultural network of churches is known as ICME (Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Ecuador) or Mennonite Christian Church of Ecuador. Leaders presented a slideshow and told the story of their conference’s formation as a Mennonite community of faith. Representatives from the Ecuador partners brought greetings and CPMC conference minister David Boshart preached a sermon, translated by Peter Wigginton.
Boshart’s message celebrated oneness in the Body of Christ as represented by the fellowship of the various groups worshipping together. He emphasized that “our joy as Christians can only be as full as our fellowship with each other,” and noted that “in John’s Gospel, the last prayer that Jesus prayed before going to cross was that we would all be one as he and the Father are one—and this oneness would result in complete joy.”
Following the sermon, groups of children, youth, women, and men from various congregations led worship in song, using both Spanish and indigenous languages, accompanied by a variety of musical instruments including pan pipes, electric guitars, a keyboard and drums. A youth group presented a dramatic symbolic enactment of the salvation story from the Garden of Eden to Jesus’ resurrection. Following the service, fellowship continued over a hearty meal of meat, potatoes, salad and fruit.
Future Partnership collaboration with ICME may include theological education for adults and youth, training for Sunday school teachers, accompaniment in the process of developing leadership for the multicultural conference, and exploration of a formal seminary program for theological education.